Fireclean VS. Tuohy Dismissed

fireclean

Last year, Andrew Tuohy of Vuurwapen Blog, did some tests to show that FIREclean is similar to certain vegetable oils. If you missed that click here to read about it. FIREClean sued Tuohy for defamation. Well recently that lawsuit was dismissed. United States District Court Judge James C. Cacheris issued an order dismissing Fireclean v. Tuohy on jurisdictional grounds.

“Plaintiff’s theory is that Baker and Tuohy conspired to publish a test that would show FIREClean is the same as Crisco or canola oil, even though they knew the test was inadequate to reach that conclusion, so as to attract more viewers to their blogs. Although such a conspiracy is logically possible, it is not plausible based on the facts in this record. The foundation of Plaintiff’s theory is that a critical review of FIREClean would attract more readers to the blogs. Criticisms of FIREClean being Crisco, however, were already commonplace online due to earlier published statements in the Vuurwapen blog, the Firearm blog, and George Fennell’s publications, among others. The Court finds no reason to conclude that an article affirming the prior tests would attract more readers than results disputing the prior test results. 

Furthermore, the record is replete with facts providing non-conspiratorial explanations for why Baker chose the Infrared Spectroscopy and NMR Spectroscopy to analyze FIREClean, including the advice of his professors, his personal research on the best testing methods, his available equipment, and the methods that two individuals with doctorates in chemistry used to test FIREClean. In sum, it does not plausibly or fairly follow from the facts alleged that Baker and Tuohy had a preconceived plan to conduct a fraudulent test so as attract more readers to their blogs by declaring FIREclean to be Crisco.”

This was posted on Vuurwapen Blog last week and you can read the ruling here.



Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • rollen

    The Judge failed to mention it is Crisco and fireclean actions ruined itself.

    • Rick O’Shay

      The judge didn’t need to, because that wasn’t the basis for the lawsuit.

  • TechnoTriticale

    From the ruling: For the following reasons, the Court will dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction. Accordingly, the Court will not reach Defendants’ arguments for dismissal on the merits. …the court must view all evidence, disputed facts, and reasonable inferences in favor of the plaintiff.

    Despite those rule-imposed limitations, the court basically demolished plaintiff’s case anyway. Should Fireclean now hire competent counsel to re-file in Arizona, they’ll first need to overcome the on-the-record insights of a judge who it appears would liked to have dismissed on merits, and with prejudice.

    • Rick O’Shay

      Really, the fact that he couldn’t even address the merits portion of it, and still found fault with the plaintiff’s case, is pretty damning.

    • derpmaster

      The personal jurisdiction screwup really says it all – these guys are idiots.

      • TechnoTriticale

        re: The personal jurisdiction screwup really says it all – these guys are idiots.

        Well, some of the judge’s cites in network nexus caselaw are pretty recent (late 2016, early 2016), so perhaps not all lawyers are up to date on what’s required for choice of venue in web cases.

        Fireclean might actually have gotten advice from counsel to not proceed, and instructed them to file anyway. Whatever, they’ve now got a lot to heal before the next escalation of Streisand Effect.

      • RealitiCzech

        A decent number of lawsuits are started to silence people, as they figure it’s cheaper to shut their mouths than go to court.

        • Steve Skubinna

          The process is the punishment.

    • Uncle Festet

      The lawsuit cannot be refilled in Arizona unless Arizona somehow has personal jurisdiction over Defendant Baker (which seems unlikely).

      The upshot of the ruling is Fireclean will have to fire separate lawsuits in Arizona and in Massachusetts against Touhy and Baker. As you might imagine, separate suits will increase Surefire’s attorneys fees. Furthermore, Touhy and Baker are likely to have lower litigation costs in their home states (no travel).

      For those critical of Fireclean’s decision to file one lawsuit in Virginia, it was not a mistake. First, it is possible that the defendants would not object to Virginia Federal Court. (There are valid reasons why the defendants might consent to VA). Second, personal jurisdiction in the context of publishing is not as clear cut as the decision implies. Frankly, Fireclean might appeal.

      Nevertheless, unless the faked the data, the defendants are almost certainly going to prevail in the end.

      • JumpIf NotZero

        increase Surefire’s attorneys fees.

        Wat?

        • Uncle Festet

          If they can’t get personal jurisdiction against both defendants in one state, they will have to file two lawsuits in two states. Even if they use the same attorneys in both lawsuits, the number of filings basically doubles.

          Trust me. Surefire doesn’t want to litigate the case in two states.

          • somethingclever

            Do you mean Fireclean?

          • Uncle Festet

            Yes.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Surefire doesn’t want to litigate the case in two states.

            Can you not see the words you type?

          • Uncle Festet

            Made a mistake. Sue me.

          • What is your state of domicile, and is a comment on a blog post sufficient minimum contact with Jumplf’s state of domicile? 😉

        • RealitiCzech

          Surefire’s lights are actually miniaturized oil lanterns!

          • Ergo

            the model la 340 actually uses rendered unicorn fat for fuel

          • RealitiCzech

            You know you can get in trouble for putting trade secrets on the internet, don’t you?

          • Only if you are an employee or discovered the trade secrets in an underhanded way. Reverse engineering is completely legitimate as a way to expose trade secrets.

  • Garmanarnar

    Tuhoy never said it was crisco. _Everyone else_ said that. Stop saying that. He said it was vegetable oil or a blend of vegetable oils. He specifically stated in the original that he did not believe it was similar or identical to crisco.

    • Maunwel

      He did actually in a comment on facebook or his blog. Not in a post.

      • Andrew Tuohy

        No, I did not.

        • JumpIf NotZero

          As I understand it TFB *cough* was the first to write Crisco. Which is wierd because veggie based or not – it’s clearly more similar to straight up rapeseed oil. Unless one has no idea what crisco looks like,

          • TechnoTriticale

            re: Unless one has no idea what crisco looks like,

            At this point, it depends on the specific product. For most of the 20th, Crisco® was a white grease-like transfat (hydrogenated cottonseed oil). It’s now an extensive product line based on a variety of fatty acids (many of which I consider unwise for human consumption, but some of which might be OK). I have no opinion on them as industrial lubricants.

          • DrewN

            My grandmother could work wonders with old school Crisco.

          • andrewRS

            That hydrogenated oil did make some good cookies.

          • ross kaleolani

            Hee, my mom used to save bacon grease in a coffee can and fry with it. I wonder if used bacon grease would work on a pistol slide…

          • Gunner4guy

            I’d STILL save it if my wife wouldn’t find my stash in the fridge and toss it. Nothing like it for frying eggs or fresh caught and cleaned fish. Great for frying liver & onions too when you forgot to get some bacon at the store…… Nothing like the taste…!

          • ross kaleolani

            Yes! This will make ya hungry! Fry up some pork sausage, remove the sausage, leave the grease add flour and milk dump the sausage back in, makes great biscuit and gravy!

          • Gunner4guy

            When was the last time you were reading something about gun lube and ended up on food???!!! Only on this blog….LOL!

          • ross kaleolani

            Ha! No kidding. Maybe this discussion makes me hungry? Here’s something else non gun lube related. How many of you have a drawer dedicated to holsters? LOL…

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Crisco always has been a tub of grease to me. But noted, and that makes more sense. … Less sense than just saying rapeseed/canola oil, esp since it’s a brand that covers alot of different products… but whatever.

        • thedonn007

          Boom

        • Lewnuam

          You said it’s canola oil. Crisco is canola oil. No difference. So did you use that money from stupid people for legal defense or use it to by fuel for your planes and more gems?

          • ozzallos .

            Why are you using two accounts Maunwel Lewnaum?

          • Out of the Blue

            Canola Oil is a type of oil. Crisco is a brand of cooking oils and shortenings known for canola oil. They also have corn oil and peanut oil in their product line. So, in short, or should I say shortening, there’s a difference.

          • Out of the Blue

            Apparently some other commenters associate Crisco with shortening as opposed to cooking oil.

          • J.T.

            That is what I have always associated it with. If you go to google image search and type “Crisco”, the majority of the results will be pictures of shortening tubs. That is what a lot of folks associate it with.

            As a side note, tubs of shortening make good emergency candles.

          • Uncle Festet

            When I was a kid, I thought Crisco was shortening because of the way my grandmother used it. Since I didn’t cook, I didn’t know better.

          • Out of the Blue

            The shortening is actually what I thought of first as well. I should have included that in my initial post. It seems to have morphed into a shorthand for cooking oil.

        • RealitiCzech

          Get out of here, we know you’re Rick Taylor’s troll account.

      • imtoomuch

        Wow you got burned hard, Maunwel.

    • That is the judges statement.

      • Andrew Tuohy

        Please, go on, Phil.

        • I was talking about the judges quote—

          • Andrew Tuohy

            Oh, and here I thought you were up to your old tricks.

          • Military Arms Channel

            It’s because of FireCleans actions against you I will never speak their name again nor will I give them any further coverage. I believe their case was malicious in intent and from the beginning I felt it was baseless. It was meant to either intimidate or punish you for being a journalist. If they had won against you it would have had a ripple effect throughout our community. Thankfully the judge saw their suit for what it was. I’m glad this is over.

          • Andrew Tuohy

            Thanks man. Really appreciate the support.

          • Anon. E Maus

            Do you think Canola Oil (or any other rapeseed oil) would do just as good a job as this stuff?

          • Andrew Tuohy

            Without 40k of 5.56 I cannot say. As I have said before, fireclean is a good lubricant for the AR platform. I have been using canola oil on all my ARs for almost 1 year now with zero negative effects observed, but at a significantly lower round count than my use of Fireclean.

    • ross kaleolani

      Yes and people need to know some vegetable oils are also used as industrial oils.. Just because Fireclean is, may be, a vegetable based oil doesn’t mean it isn’t good for firearms. It may be a blend of biodegradable food grade oils. I don’t think the makers of Fireclean ever said what blend of oils were in Fireclean all is stated is as biodegradable. So if any of you are chemists and know how much of what kind of biodegradable or vegetable oils to make a firearm cleaner, lube go right ahead. I am sure it is more than just filling bottles of vegetable oil and selling a bottle for 15 bucks. Heck, a large fast food chain who I won’t mention says they use 100 percent pure beef in their hamburger, yeah, 100 percent pure beef but how much is actually 100 percent pure beef?

      • If they advertise that their burgers are 100% pure beef it better be 100% pure beef while the ad is running or else they will get in trouble.

        For the most part Tuohy was complimentary on Fireclean. Some believe that they have Fireclean mix by looking at the USPTO rejection letter on their patent application. It was in the comments at TTAG.

        • ross kaleolani

          I honor your reply. I do have to admit I didn’t read the full article. I did read about Fireclean being vegetable oil but didn’t really get hung up on it since I always go back to Slip 2000 for lube. Yeah, I admit I have used most all lubes just like my drawer full of holsters. Hee, Hee. Never have used Fireclean.

  • imtoomuch

    Sorry, but if your product is so bad that you have to sue to prove it’s not Crisco then I don’t want it. I think this is a bad PR move and most of the comments I’ve seen around the internet confirm this lawsuit backfired. I hope they lose their business over this.

    • CommonSense23

      The issue isn’t that the proud is bad. Its that they were vastly overcharging for what it was which was most likely a rapassed based oil. Which Crisco is.

      • andrewRS

        Agreed. I’ve personally never used fireclean, but the reports of its effectiveness still stand whether or not it’s nearly identical to rapeseed oil. Just like many people have shown that Mobil 1 is just as good as many oil-based gun lubricants.

        • Klaus Von Schmitto

          Mobil 1 is better than most and REALLY cost effective.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            Breathe deep. I won’t.

        • LetsTryLibertyAgain

          I also use full synthetic oil for resizing brass. As Klaus said, it’s very cost effective. In fact, it’s free for me because I just use what’s left in the bottles after an oil change.

        • Military Arms Channel

          The reports that with every shot the puff’s of smoke coming out of the ejection port are FireClean vaporizing and whisking carbon away are true? /sarcasm

  • Great news for Tuohy and for internet bloggers in general! Tuohy’s postings were articulate and formed hypothesis and conclusions based on scientific studies he had professionals in their respective fields conduct.

    FireClean’s suit for defamation was more about legal fear-mongering against negative reviews than it was about true defamation. As the Federal Court found – Tuohy’s posts had scientific basis, by professionals, and could thereby support his conclusions. If FireClean had any decency they would have rebutted Tuohy’s findings with their own scientific results. Me thinks they chose the legal threat because the findings hit close enough to truth they were desperate to stay in business.

    • Military Arms Channel

      I agree completely.

  • Big Daddy

    The American judicial system does work. Tuohy was 100% correct. If Fireclean wanted to prove him wrong they could have shown their own tests, they did not. Their only testing done for the public was a bogus video with Vickers.

  • Blake

    Congrats on the ruling Andrew!

    Hopefully this is the last we’ll hear about this…

  • n0truscotsman

    So…no conspiracy then. Gotcha. Could of told that one from the very beginning.

    The only thing FC did was ensure Ill never buy another product of theirs, *EVER*, and Ill gladly keep steering others away.

  • DW

    Salt. Salt never changes.

  • Jeff Smith

    Andrew,

    Please make Fireclean reimburse you for your legal fees, then use that money to buy the most ridiculously expensive bottle of scotch possible. Next, film yourself and the staff of TFB drinking said scotch and discussing this ridiculous fiasco.

    I will watch that video and smile. I’m glad you made it through this nonsense.

    • Greg

      TFB guys were in the comments sticking up for fireclean. They didn’t back Andrew. They showed they lack the backbone he posseses. Don’t believe me go back and read the comment section on the original story.

      • That’s too bad. I like both groups, and would double check myself before making any claim that Touhy went off half cocked. He always says the least possible to make his point and avoids anything needlessly controversial. -With the exception of his post bragging about preemptively killing the Taurus AR. For all he knew it could have been a fine rifle, at least as credible as the many small AR builders out there.

        Touhy doesn’t make needless drama, and he has a humble well reasoned way about him. I could say the same for most of the TFB crew.

  • n0truscotsman

    well if you’re paranoid about the Andrew fanboys, then you can always go over to the company sponsored, Andrew bashing fest over at soldier systems daily.

  • Adam D.

    Andrew, respect for what you do.
    Very few people dare to speak and opine honestly, based on hard facts.
    Big companies, money and the bad kind of lawyers make sure people shut their mouths.

    To be honest, I am shocked by how much hate and smack talk you had to endure through this whole ordeal, and what’s worst in all of this: the very same people who did this probably whatched and read your reviews on a regular basis.
    Maybe even bought some products like flash hiders etc. based on your tests.
    It is really disgusting.

    Sad thing, but it’s a long standing fact: telling the truth is always hard.
    Yet, I am pretty sure there are a lot of guys like me who like and appreciate what you do. Big thanks for that!

  • Tina848

    Hi…hubby is a big gun guy, I am a chemist who did analytical testing at a lubricant company. ALL vegetable based oils will look the same with an FTIR and NMR analysis. The only way to differentiate is to use a Mass Spec. I would have run either LCMS or GCMS to separate out all the oil from the additive package. It is the additive package is what makes the difference among products – it will always be 98% vegetable oil based or mineral oil based. This is not just true of the firearms industry, but of all industrial lubricants and pharma grade lubricants. All the same stuff – we just dyed them different colors. This technology has been around since WWII when the synthetic vegetable based lubricants were produced due to a petroleum shortage. It is usually Canola (Rapeseed) oil reacted with an acid to form a grease like compound, but other veggie oils can be used.

    • Also Ian from Forgotten Weapons used it as cooking oil for frying an egg and didn’t have any bad reactions too it.

      • Tina848

        That is because there is only a small amount of additives in the product. Much like 1% cortisone you buy for a bug bite. The other 99% is either petrolatum (vaseline) or veggie based lubricant. (technical term is Aliphatic Hydrocarbon) A small amount ingested wouldn’t hurt you. Mineral oil is used as a laxative and is sold in a drug store, it is also a lubricant for metal. All the same stuff.

        • Uncle Festet

          Great information.

          • Tina848

            Don’t cook with it. While it is a grease, it is not a food grade grease. That means no one filters it for dirt, bugs, or other nasties. There is no treatment for bacteria like E.Coli or Listeria. You could get sick. Plus, if you burn off all the grease, you are left with the additive chemicals, which CAN and WILL make you ill if you ingest too much. Anti-fungals and Biocides are added to most vegetable based lubricants – not for human consumption. They will not be tolerated well in a high concentrated dose

      • mazkact

        Earlier this week I attempted to post links to that video and the one Karl and Ian did on Nineteenth century Patent medicines “New West Vignette” in comparison to twenty first century “gunsnakeoil” my word TM 😉 . For some reason my post was not approved. Look these two videos up for yourselves @ youtube Inrangetv, very entertaining and informative.

    • Bingo–

      • Tina848

        When Hubby explain the issue, I was surprised the people who did the analysis did such a shoddy job. They should have known better or at least explained the results better. All this hand-wringing and legal issues could have been prevented. A tiny bit of research into industrial lubricants would have also explained everything. This is nothing new, it is used in so many forms. I started work as a food chemist and went to work for a lubricant company….you know why? It is the same processes. Same as cosmetics too. The only different is the cleanliness and purity of the raw materials and what you add to the medium. You can add color, flavors, chemicals, or anything else.

    • uisconfruzed

      Would you do an analysis for TFB?

  • tarnishedcopper

    Hey if it works and you like it, by all means buy it and use it, if not, don’t. Too simple? If it is, and I don’t know or care whether or not it is, it would not be the first time snake oil was widely distributed. A vegetable oil lubricant was developed back in the 1960’s for use on the M-16’s in Vietnam. I still have a bottle or two of it. It was named LSA (Lubricant Small Arms) I personally use mineral spirits to clean with, and Hoppes oil to lube with, but have used other things such as motor oil, or the ozone-killer Trichloroethane in a pinch.

    • TechnoTriticale

      re: Hey if it works and you like it, by all means buy it and use it, if not, don’t. Too simple?

      Yes, at this point, too simple. When companies sue their reviewers (or customers) on flimsy legal grounds, product value is no longer the only consideration.

  • BigR

    So now I can either cook with it, or clean my guns with it, RIGHT!

    • Tina848

      Don’t cook with it. While it is a grease, it is not a food grade grease. That means no one filters it for dirt, bugs, or other nasties. There is no treatment for bacteria like E.Coli or Listeria. You could get sick. Plus, if you burn off all the grease, you are left with the additive chemicals, which CAN and WILL make you ill if you ingest too much. Anti-fungals and Biocides are added to most vegetable based lubricants – not for human consumption. They will not be tolerated well in a high concentrated dose.

  • John

    OK listen, the reason I used FireClean in the first place was NOT that it had superior lubrication properties or that lots of people told me it was awesome. The reason I used it on my AK is that when the barrel got over 200 degrees I would freak out my friends by actually frying an egg on the barrel. After the barrel cooled, the egg would just slide gently off and taste DELICIOUS! I don’t know why…it just did.

  • Mark K.

    Very glad to see you have prevailed in this decision, Andrew!!! Hope it didn’t cost you too much in defense fees.

  • John Adams

    Instead of crying to some judge, maybe they should have tried to defend their product, or disproven them, or failing that, not marketted cooking grease as a gun lubricant.

    Doesn’t matter what the stuff actually is now. FIREClean killed their own reputation with this stunt, and all people are going to remember is that the courts ruled that FIREClean is, like, Crisco or something. This is a great example of how NOT to handle critical reviews. They won’t be able to give the stuff away now.

  • albaby2

    Problem is now someone will sue claiming that the article indicated Fireclean was good for cooking but gave them the Hershey squirts

  • BigFED

    Just stick with good old “CLP”! Regular cleaning and lubrication is the primary need! Everything else is horse hockey! No one will ever subject their guns to where the threshold of failure will be based on the qualities of whatever GUN lubricant they use AS LONG AS IT WAS A SOLID/NAME PRODUCT!!!

    There was a time when almost ANYTHING was used. 3 in 1 oil, used/unused motor oil, bacon grease, you name it, it probably was used!

    • uisconfruzed

      I have used CLP exclusively for >15 years. I’m now shooting exclusevly suppressed. I had a bolt bind cause FTF, had to close with the fwd assist.
      The Fireclean is a little thicker,stays on the surface longer, the takedown pins are a lot easier to push out by hand, and the bolt wipes clean.
      I’m now mixing CLP & Fireclean 50/50.

      • BigFED

        That MALF can be blamed on any number of factors including the type of gas system used (direct/piston)! The real question is “How many similar MALFs did you have in the YEARS before you had that ONE?” On ANY given day, ANYTHING can happen! All of those rounds that you fired that you did not have a problem has nothing to do with having an ammo FTF for a hard primer/defective primer or any other MALF. Just saying…

  • ross kaleolani

    I will have to look at a bottle of Fireclean. Does it have what kind of oil? Does it say invironmentally safe? Does it say proprietary blend of oils? If it is a proprietary blend that means it could be anything so whether or not Fireclean is just food grade oil Fireclean would not be held fraudulent. If Fireclean states they use industrial oils but yet just use food oil then yeah they would be fraudulent. Someone correct me I haven’t even kept up on this Fireclean subject I don’t use it. If someone is claiming Fireclean is just food grade oil and Fireclean never denied it just to be food grade then why hold Fireclean accountable? Like I said, I don’t know, never read Fireclean claims. I will have to go to Fireclean website. So, someone correct me or give your own opinion doesn’t hurt my feelings. Like I said, I don’t have the facts just thought I would jump in.

  • Hurray. People forget that most of the time courts reach logical and just conclusions. It looks like the judge here was quite sensible.